By Ivan A Cuxeva
Living in extremely cold places poses a serious risk to those living in areas where temperatures can drop dramatically. Northern US states, Canada, northern European countries, Asia as well as countries in South America meet the meteorological conditions which trigger winter storms. Drastic temperature drops represent a serious hazard to anyone living in these areas who is not prepared to handle such conditions and things just get worse when snow starts to fall.
People living in populated cities have much of the resources needed to survive such weather, but campers, people who practice winter sports and many others are in serious risks of getting caught in one of these storms, in fact these are the people we often hear about on the news who get disoriented and lost because of winter storms.
The first step is to always be prepared for the unexpected winter storm, whether you are just heading out to camp or to ski on nearby slopes, caution is the first step to survival. There are two common ways people get caught on a winter storm, the first is when people's vehicles fail on them or they are outside and get lost due to the weather conditions, many think that surviving a storm inside a car is easy compared to being outside without any type of shelter but this thought can be quite deceiving.
People who get caught in a winter storm while on their vehicles face the risks of hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning. It is recommended to run the motor every hour in order to keep some heat in the vehicle which will keep you warm, you should never keep yourself completely locked inside with the windows rolled up for an extended period of time, open them periodically in order to avoid intoxication by dangerous gases. Since you might be in a confined space try to move your arms legs and fingers vigorously in order to keep the blood flowing and your core temperature stable, once the storm has passed make yourself visible to rescuers by raising the hood of your car or hanging clothes with eye catching colors outside the car.
If you are caught without any type of shelter the first thing is to look for a cave or make yourself an improvise Igloo using tree branches and solid ice to ride the storm, it is also recommended to build a fire and place stones around it in order to reflect the heat. If you start to sweat, remove part of the clothes for a brief instant until you are dry and them put them back on, this helps you avoid subsequent chills, moreover, never eat snow without first melting it because it can lower your core temperature. Once the storm has passed make sure you are on an area where helicopters and rescuers can easily spot you.